What is the economic impact of cancer on society?
Economic cancer impact on society: The economic costs of cancer are high both for the person with cancer and for society as a whole. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that direct medical costs (total of all healthcare costs) for cancer in the US in 2015 were $ 80.2 thousand million.
- 52% of this cost is for doctor’s office or hospital outpatient visits
- 38% of this cost is for hospitalizations
PLEASE NOTE: Cancer impact on society: These estimates are based on a set of large-scale surveys of individuals and their medical providers called the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
One of the main costs of cancer is cancer treatment. But the lack of health insurance and other barriers to health care prevent many Americans from obtaining optimal health care.
Giving to the US Census Bureau, about 28 million people (9%) in the US were uninsured in 2016. The percentage of people without insurance ranged from 3% in Massachusetts to 17% in Texas.
And according to Cancer Facts & Figures 2018, “Uninsured patients and those from many ethnic minority groups are much more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage when treatment can be more extensive, more expensive and less successful.”
This year, about 609,640 Americans are expected to die of cancer – that’s more than 1,670 people a day. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, second only to heart disease.
Cancer costs us billions of dollars. It also costs us the people we love. Lowering barriers to cancer care is critical in the fight to eliminate cancer suffering and death.
Social and emotional cancer impacts on society
Almost all cancer survivors will face psychological and emotional problems that can appear many years after treatment. The good news is that you don’t have to hurt alone. Therapy, support groups, social media, and community resources are available to help you deal with these issues. The first step in coping with psychosocial changes is realizing you have a problem and having the courage to ask for help.
Here are some of the more common psychosocial problems and cancer impact on society that cancer survivors can deal with:
- Fear of Recurrence: Many survivors anxieties that their cancer will come back at some point. Important events in your cancer journey can often trigger these feelings. Knowing your own body can help distinguish between normal physical changes and more serious symptoms that you should report to your doctor.
- Grief is a natural result of the loss. Loss can contain your health, sex drive, fertility, and physical independence. Support groups and counseling can help you solve these problems.
- Depression: An estimated 70% of cancer survivors experience depression at some point. Know the symptoms of unhappiness and seek treatment as soon as possible.
- Body Image: Cancer survivors who have suffered amputations, disfigurements, or a major change in physical function may suffer from a lack of self-esteem. A negative body image can affect your desire for intimacy and social communication. Honesty and open communication with loved ones can minimalize negative feelings.
- Spirituality: Many survivors find that life takes on new meaning after cancer and will reintroduce their commitment to spiritual practices or organized religion. Research suggests that spirituality improves the quality of life done a strong social support network, adaptive coping, decreased depression, and better physiological function.
- Survivor’s guilt: Some people wonder why they survived cancer when others did not. If you suffer from prolonged guilt, seek the help of a psychotherapist, a member of the clergy, or a support group.
- Relationships: Your friends, co-workers, and family may treat you differently after a cancer diagnosis. They can avoid it or they won’t talk about their cancer. It can help to seek new relationships with other cancer survivors who know what you’ve been through.
- The workplace: Cancer survivors often feel that they can no longer relate to co-workers who have not experienced cancer. You may be reluctant to discuss your cancer treatment with employers or co-workers for fear that you will be treated differently. Understand if your employer has a support group or other income for cancer survivors.
Social and emotional side effects of cancer
Cancer impact on society: It is not uncommon for cancer patients to face a combination of emotions and adjustment problems. At our hospital, we offer teams of specialists who can help. They include experts in survival, social work, rehabilitation, alternative medicine, nutrition, and other specialties. We also offer classes and support groups.
- Body double and self-esteem: You may be adjusting to scars, weight changes, the loss of a breast or other body part, or other variations in your body. Some parts of your body may not work the way they used to. This can make you feel self-conscious about going out or being intimate with a partner. Allow yourself to regret what you have lost. Support groups, counseling, exercise, and a proper diet can also help.
- Depression: Depression affects about two in 10 persons with cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. If you feel sadness that never seems to go away or that you no longer enjoy your favorite activities, it is important to talk with your provider about the possibility of getting help.
- Fear that cancer will come back: It is normal to worry that every pain or cold could signal the return of cancer, especially in the year after treatment. Medical appointments, anniversaries, and other things can trigger or strengthen these fears. Accepting this worry, managing stress, and focusing on things you can control, like your follow-up appointments, can help.
- Finding meaning: Over time, many patients find meaning and a new beginning in life after cancer. Some feel stronger or more capable. Some are inspired to try new things and others find that they enjoy each day more. However, new knowledge can develop slowly over the years and may not appear immediately.
- Grief: It is common, even expected, to feel a sense of loss for your previous life. However, many patients are surprised by the intensity of the emotions surrounding the need to adjust to a new normal. Give by hand permission and time to feel sad about your losses. Talk to your provider if these feelings become overwhelming.
- Guilt: Some people feel guilty for surviving, knowing that other patients did not. Some worry that they will overburden caregivers and family members. Counseling or a support group can offer an opportunity to talk about your feelings.
- Loneliness: A sense of isolation is shared after cancer. You may feel that others cannot really understand. Friends may have withdrawn. You can find emotional support in counseling, a support group, or a religious community.
- Relationships: Cancer can damage relationships with friends, family, and coworkers. People may treat you differently or not know what to say. It is possible that the people you expected to support you have backed down and the people you didn’t count on have reached out.
- Spirituality: After cancer treatment, you may come across a new approach to faith. Some survivors, finding a new connection and companionship, renew their spiritual practices. Others find themselves questioning their faith.
- Stress: Changes that come with cancer, treatment, and survival can increase anxiety. You may face the return of problems that you left out during treatment. Exercise, talking with others, relaxation methods, meditation, and creative activities can help.
- Work: After cancer, reintegrating into social and professional life can be challenging. Many fear an increased risk of infection, lack of energy, and anxiety about job performance. At the same time, work can transport a sense of normalcy. Open communication with colleagues can help you overcome feelings of uncertainty, but use your judgment on how much to share about your cancer and its treatment.